Mandalapa's Excursions

Travel experiences, itineraries, tips, rants and more!

Currently in: New York | Miles traveled: 450,000 miles | Countries Visited: 27

The all time greatest traveler in the history of the planet

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UPDATE: NASA Confirmed Voyager 1 has left the solar system.

On september of 1977, a pair of human emissaries were launched into space to venture into the unknown, to discover what’s lurking in the darkness beyond the orbit of Mars. The nuclear powered space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were launched within 20 days of each other to take advantage of the gravity assist of the planets jupiter and saturn to achieve tremendous velocity to venture out to the outer solar system within our generation. Even though they are 35 years old, they still continue to transmit data back to earth. It takes about 14 hours to transmit any signals from the probes to earth. Both these probes travel at different speeds and are on different trajectories. Voyager 1 is traveling faster, at a speed of about 38,000 mph, compared to Voyager 2’s velocity of 35,000 mph.

Voyager space probe

Voyager space probe – Credit: wikipedia

I still remember the day when I was reading my newspaper in India and the article was titled “Farthest man made object from earth” on february of 1998. I started following Voyager since then, keeping track of all its findings and constantly looking at pictures of gas giants and its moons it sent us.  The constant trickle of information that these probes reveals to us about our solar system and the rest of universe, is invaluable to our exploration of space and helps us begin to understand it and the wonders it hides.

If this isn’t cool enough, wait till you find out about the golden record. Both the voyagers have a golden record plate attached to spacecraft. This idea is brain child of Carl Sagan. He is one of my inspirations and I wish he wrote more books. If you haven’t read Contact or A pale blue dot, I highly recommend it. The record contains 116 images, natural sounds of wind, waves, thunder, animals, whales etc. It also included greetings from over fifty languages, photographs, silhouettes of a man and a woman, mathematical, physical quantities, image of solar system and my favorite of all, a pulsar triangulation of planet earth to pinpoint the location of our planet from outer space for intelligent alien civilization.

Golden record of Voyager 1

Golden record of Voyager 1 – Credit: wikipedia

 

Voyager 1 Odometer

Distance from Earth
18,234,072,467 KM,121.88724600 AU or 18.2 Billion KM
Distance from the Sun
18,225,103,560 KM, 121.82729256 AU
Roundtrip Light Time from the Sun
33:47:24 – hh:mm:ss

Voyager 2 Odometer

Distance from Earth
14,829,214,184 KM, 99.12717417 AU or 14.8 Billion KM
Distance from the Sun
14,891,961,074 KM, 99.54661122 AU
Roundtrip Light Time from the Sun
27:28:49 – hh:mm:ss

The most interesting picture ever sent from the voyager probe was when it just passed Saturn and Carl Sagan decided to turn the cameras on the probe towards earth and captured a stunning picture of a pale blue dot suspended in a mode of dust.

Pale Blue Dot - Earth from beyond the orbit of Saturn

Pale Blue Dot – Earth from beyond the orbit of Saturn – Credit: johnkary.net

The very nature of unknown troubles us, we humans are afraid of the dark. Ironically its our fate to live in the dark. Exploration is just a voyage of self discovery. Good luck to all the future space explorations.

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